Agbakoba laments poor case management system in Nigerian courts | The Guardian Nigeria News


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A Senior Advocate for Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, lamented the slow process of handling cases in Nigeria, which he described as outdated and a deliberate culture fostered by lawyers to exploit litigants.

The lawyer, who was a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said the handling of cases in the courts should be treated with a more serious approach than the way it is currently handled.

In a statement from the lawyer, he said: “The procedural landscape of the Nigerian courts is slow and inefficient and in need of reform.” He blamed the bar and the bench for colluding to unjustly tear apart the litigant by unduly delaying the speedy delivery of justice in Nigeria.

Agbakoba said: “The adjournment culture has flourished – a conspiracy between the bench and the bar to rob paying clients of their day in court. The lawyers can chat for an hour on a fixed date, while the judge, seemingly delighted, watches with silent disdain.

“It’s only in the realm of law that people go to work just to argue about when to start scratching the job. They call it “mentioning”. “The question is for mention”. If your doctor did that, you would be suing for medical malpractice! said the lead attorney.

The SAN added: “The adjournment culture is so deeply rooted that even good lawyers go to court expecting an adjournment. Judges are almost always willing to help. Often when a case is called, neither the bar nor the bench are ready to proceed. The lawyer is often not prepared: the judge has not read the file.

This, the lawyer said, is not a realistic model of running a modern court. He explained that the courts cannot continue to be a stage of dispute resolution for everyone.

“Its business model needs to be redefined so that the tribunal becomes a dispute resolution engine room with a mind of its own and freedom of choice as to what disputes it can or should take.

“We must erect a firewall against the halls of justice to protect the courts from viral abuse. Frivolous, unnecessary or vexatious claims are viruses in the blood of our justice system,” he said.

Agbakoba argued that when a court admits a case, it must decide how much of its resources to devote to that case. He therefore suggested a radical reform of Nigeria’s civil procedure system. His words: “This focus is on case management.

Other jurisdictions have understood the transformative value of case management in making litigation cheaper, faster, smoother, more efficient and more effective.

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